OVPR awards large-scale planning grants to three teams


The Office of the Vice President for Research has awarded large-scale planning grants to three University of Michigan teams working to advance research involving zero-emission vehicles, health trajectories for bereaved youth and housing solutions.

OVPR annually awards funding to interdisciplinary research teams across U-M so they are positioned to prepare and submit competitive large-scale grant proposals.

“Large-scale grants are essential to the success of our research enterprise because this type of funding allows teams across our three campuses to advance innovative and bold ideas, and those ideas often generate results that positively impact neighborhoods and communities worldwide,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research.

“These grants provide members of our research community with a unique competitive advantage so they are fully prepared when seeking external funding.”

Alan Taub

Alan Taub, the Robert H. Lurie Professor of Engineering and director of the Michigan Materials Research Institute, received $50,000 from OVPR to help U-M increase its competitiveness to secure a $160 million National Science Foundation Regional Innovation Engines grant.

Taub also will leverage proposal development services, research analytics and entrepreneurial ecosystem development expertise from OVPR to build a competitive proposal.

He and his colleagues are coordinating more than 100 universities, community colleges, manufacturers, parts suppliers, startups and incubators to help the region establish a global leadership position in the scalable production of zero-emission vehicles using carbon neutral manufacturing processes.

This strategy has the potential to create new centers of innovation and generate thousands of new jobs across Michigan and the region, while creating a self-sustaining research commercialization ecosystem and aiding in the development and support of a diverse regional workforce.

“The University of Michigan, together with our partner the American Center for Mobility, is in an excellent position to lead a proposal on sustainable next-generation mobility that would integrate efforts of universities and community colleges, national laboratories, nonprofits and companies,” Taub said.

Sean Esteban McCabe

Sean Esteban McCabe is a professor of nursing and research professor in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender who directs the Center for the Study of Drugs, Alcohol, Smoking and Health. He is co-leading a project with Wayne State University assistant professor Luisa Kcomt to identify the behavioral and mental health trajectories and outcomes for children whose parent or significant caregiver died as the result of a drug overdose.

With $100,000 in support from OVPR, DASH Center researchers from U-M and WSU will work to position themselves for a National Institute on Drug Abuse grant that is designed to support collaborative research around drug abuse and its associated consequences. Their goal is to identify short- and long-term resources that can best support bereaved children and their families.

“Over 1 million people in the United States have died from an opioid or other drug overdose since 1999, and children who experience the death of a parent or significant caregiver are at increased risk of mental illness, substance misuse and other adverse psychosocial outcomes,” McCabe said.

Roshanak Mehdipanah

Roshanak Mehdipanah, associate professor of health behavior and health education in the School of Public Health, directs the Housing Solutions for Health Equity initiative at U-M. She will use $50,000 from OVPR to develop a competitive proposal for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to support the initiative’s research that addresses housing issues including unaffordability, inaccessibility and poor quality, through a health equity lens.

“The U.S. has a chronic shortage of affordable and adequate housing, and COVID-19 exacerbated the situation,” Mehdipanah said.

“The University of Michigan is well positioned to become a leader in housing research and policy in the Midwest region,” she said.

“The establishment of the Housing Solutions for Health Equity initiative would benefit research collaboration at U-M, improve the study of housing in the Midwest, and enhance the national evidence base on the intersection of housing, health, race, socioeconomic status and aging.”


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